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Thousands in China tie the knot on 11.11.11

A couple poses for a wedding photo in Beijing on Nov. 11, 2011. AFP/GETTI IMAGES/Peter Parks

Lovebirds across Chinese cities rushed to get registered on Friday for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have six 1’s in a row stamped on their marriage certificates.
         
November 11, a date made up entirely of the digit 1, has been the unofficial Singles’ Day in China every year since the 1990s.
         
But couples have seized the ironic opportunity of what some have dubbed “Super Singles’ Day” — thanks to the two more 1s in the sequence this year — to leave behind their singlehood.
         
Registration Centres of Marriage across the country were accepting reservations from couples keen to tie the knot a month prior to the popular date through their website and telephone services.
         
Lin Kewu, director of a registration centre in Shanghai, said that Super Singles’ Day beat the Valentine’s Day record for the number of couples registering on a single day this year.
         
“We predict that there will be a total of 4,000 couples getting registered today,” said Lin. “That makes it the highest number of registration in one day this year – even more popular a date than April 14 which was Valentine’s Day.”
         
The wedding date is important for many Chinese couples, who believe that getting married on an auspicious date brings good luck for the future.
         
Official records from last year show 11,000 couples tying the knot on October 10, 2010 in Beijing alone, state agency Xinhua reported. The number 10 symbolizes perfection for the Chinese.
         
September 9, 2009 saw 19,000 marriage registrations — with ‘9’ implying ‘eternity’, and 15,000 couples registered on August 8, 2008, Xinhua said. ‘8’ represents wealth.         
But despite being celebrated as Singles’ Day, the younger generation has modified the meaning behind the abundance of 1’s into a romantic notion.
         
Wang Hongmiao, a newlywed in Beijing as of Super Singles’ Day, explained the idea behind the trend.
         
“We picked today, November 11, 2011 with a total of six ‘1’s in all,” he said. “In Chinese, it stands for one lifetime, one heart, one purpose. And it means an entire lifetime.  Also, November 11 is Singles’ Day, and represents leaving behind singlehood — that is, leaving the days of singlehood behind once and for all.”
         
Wang Yue and husband Lang agreed that the numerous 1’s made it meaningful to marry on the date.
        
 “November 11, 2011 represents ‘I love you’ for a lifetime, with one heart and one purpose, one bit at a time. We didn’t consider that it was Singles’ Day, but it’s rare to be able to join into the hype altogether — the next chance would be in 2111.”
         
More than 6,000 couples in Beijing registered for marriage on Friday, centres reported.
         
As a ‘safety net’, couples in China typically celebrate their wedding and arrange for photograph shoots only after registration.
         
Wedding planning agencies and bridal stores in Shanghai said they were bracing themselves for a rush of business to come after Friday, Xinhua reported.
         
But bride-to-be Ji Tingting and her fiancé, who have been dating for a year, had their wedding photographs taken at a Shanghai studio two days ahead of Friday.
         
Ji said the fact that it was Singles’ Day was the main reason for their choice of date.
         
“We chose November 11 mainly because we felt that November 11, 2011 is a very special date,” she said. “It’s known as Singles’ Day, but the way we see it, it’s a good day to leave our singlehood behind — that’s why we picked it. Also, there won’t be another day as such in this lifetime, so that’s why.”
         
Other Chinese cities reported a similar trend, with more than 400 couples registering in Wuhan in central China, and over a hundred in the eastern city of Jinan, Xinhua reported.

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